Paul Winstanley (b. 1954 in Manchester, UK) is best known for his delicate paintings from photographs, which pull beauty from quotidian environs with tactile precision. Wavering between photographic realism and painterly softness, Winstanley’s works call into question the quiet psychology of public and private spaces. The role of the viewer is central to an understanding of Winstanley's paintings and his occasional use of the figure echoes that active passivity. Engrossed, they watch, look, wait, smoke, phone, text. Schooled in the orthodoxies of abstract Modernism, Winstanley spent a decade after studying at Cardiff College of Art from 1973-76 and the Slade from 1976-78 establishing a new visual language, combining the tenets of minimalism with the pictorialism of photography. His breakthrough showing of the large painting 'Walkway' at the Whitechapel Open in 1989 won him the first prize Unilever Award.
Winstanley lives and works in London. His work has been included in exhibitions since the 1970s, and over the past two decades it has been shown throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the United States. Recent institutional group shows include Art and Existence, Esbjerg Kunstmuseum, Esbjerg, Denmark (2013); Lifelike, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California (2013); and Window to the World, Museo Cantonale d’arte and Museo d’arte, Lugano, Italy (2013). His first retrospective was held at the Auckland Art Space in New Zealand in 2008 and was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. Winstanley's work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the collections of The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Tate Gallery, Great Britain; New York City Public Library, New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.